There’s a time in most people’s lives when they think they have it figured out. This job is perfect, this partner is my soulmate, this athlete will deliver us to the promised land, and then after an extensive, intimate, and complicated relationship, the bottom drops out. You’re left sitting on the floor of your condo, or in your moderately priced sedan in the office parking lot, or staring at a Woj bomb that was years in the making, wondering, what the f*ck?
Why me, why this, why now, and who did I offend to deserve to suffer such turmoil? How old — or wise — you are dictates the level of bitterness, and that’s where I’m at. Damian Lillard, the greatest Trail Blazer in the history of my lifetime and maybe the franchise, now has another entry under his NBA reference page. I could give two craps about what this means for the Bucks, or their chances of a title, because I’m a grownup and a fan of teams, not players. Portland til I die, and every other franchise is irrelevant.
This is not a time for objective journalism. A man has died (not really), and I’d appreciate some space. I just want to sit here, replay the highlights, drink mezcal, and plot my revenge on Neil Olshey until I can figure out a way to repair the damage to my soul, and send untraceable envelopes of anthrax.
Yes, I’m 37, unmarried, and haven’t sired a child, but who among us can deny my pain? Raise your hand, and I’ll show you someone who hasn’t lived. What’s the saying? All good things come to an end, but herpes last forever? (Different journal entry, Sean! Get it together, people are staring!)
Dame Dolla, come back! I promise to listen to every #4barFriday, and trade any and all picks, players, and assets. Joe Cronin, if you don’t turn Deandre Ayton and Jrue Holiday into five first-round draft picks by the end of this season, I’m going to crap on your doorstep myself even if it means defecating on every stoop in Lake Oswego.
I remember sitting on the edge of a hotel bed, with my parents sleeping quietly on the other queen, when Lillard hit his first playoff series-ending buzzer beater against Houston, and fist pumping wildly so as not to wake them but still release the requisite enthusiasm.
The Oklahoma City assassination and goodbye Felicia wave literally had me levitating and waking everyone in the neighborhood as I don’t know how I was able to rap on the ceiling and revel on the floor simultaneously.
Even Dame’s double-nickel against Denver, when neither Carmelo Anthony nor C.J. McCollum could hit a wide-open three, and Portland was eliminated in overtime, is crystal clear in my memory, and I blacked out that night.
This is truly a sad occasion for Blazers fans of every age. Never an MVP (other than in the bubble), or an NBA champion (yet), but electrifying enough to be photoshopped into every team’s jersey.
Best of luck, Damian Lillard.